How much stuff is in orbit around the Earth and is it dangerous?
How much stuff is in orbit around the Earth and is it dangerous? (Thinkstock)
How much stuff is in orbit around the Earth and is it dangerous?
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You asked us a question. "How much stuff is in orbit around the Earth. And is it dangerous?"
 
NASA tracks some half a million pieces of space junk. They track everything. They track bits of out-of-date satellites. They even track the rare lost glove or spatula. 
 
The United States Department of Defense tracks everything larger than a softball. There are about 20,000 objects. 
 
Why? Because a piece of space junk that size is moving fast. It is moving at about 10 times the speed of a bullet. It will hit you with the power of 25 sticks of dynamite.
 
It is worse when space junk runs into other space junk. It does not just fall into earth's atmosphere and burn up. 
 
It becomes millions of little missiles. They race around the earth. That is instead of two big ones.
 
Thank goodness we can always count on a little help from our friends. 
 
One example is the Chinese. In 2007, they decided to show off their fancy new anti-satellite missile system. They blew up an old weather satellite. It added another 3,000 pieces of killer junk to the problem. 
 
There is an upside. Our mates in Australia are working on a laser. It will zap space junk out of orbit.

Source URL: https://www.tweentribune.com/article/junior/how-much-stuff-orbit-around-earth-and-it-dangerous/

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why might the United States Department of Defense only track space junk larger than a softball?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (41)
  • peytonw-moo
    11/05/2015 - 10:26 a.m.

    this article was great because it not only tells you about space ,but it tells you about other countries that are building stuff for this reason.

    • saraha-moo
      11/06/2015 - 08:07 a.m.

      you are right I totally agree

  • chriss1-moo
    11/05/2015 - 10:27 a.m.

    they only track the junk larger than a softball because the other countries are tracking larger junk

  • ansleys-moo
    11/05/2015 - 12:12 p.m.

    I loved the article! But if all the space junk is causing problems then why not do something about it?

  • karip-moo
    11/05/2015 - 12:15 p.m.

    I love this article because it tells you about all different kinds of stuff about space, and what is ruining the atmosphere in space. I am glad people in Australia are trying to fix the problem.

  • richardsond-rob
    11/05/2015 - 01:34 p.m.

    I think that it would be more important to worry about the space junk larger than a softball because it is way more dangerous. I say that it is more dangerous because it would come down faster.

  • hoganc-rob
    11/05/2015 - 01:36 p.m.

    The article tells us about space and it tells about countries that are building stuff for this.

  • durhamj-rob
    11/05/2015 - 01:37 p.m.

    the article tells us about other countires that are buliding stuff for this reason. they can be telling us about junk thats up there.

  • esteph-rob
    11/05/2015 - 01:37 p.m.

    They only track the junk larger than a softball because the different countries are tracking more junk.

  • decampd-rob
    11/05/2015 - 01:43 p.m.

    Due to a lot of space activity, a lot of "junk" has gotten stuck in Earths orbit. The fact that the objects in Earths orbit are moving 10 times the speed of a bullet; makes it impossible to remove them from Earths orbit. Although, scientists and other countries are working to create machines and new technology to remove the objects.

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